Christopher Schafer helped to save Colt J. Brink from burning, Blunt, South Dakota, August 17, 2017. Colt, 16, farmer, was semi-conscious and partly buried in wheat grain inside the cab of his tractor-trailer after it collided with a locomotive at a crossing. Flames broke out in the truck’s engine compartment and in the spilled grain and diesel fuel leaking from the truck. The train’s engineer and conductor exited the train and made efforts to extinguish the blaze, but could not completely suppress the fires. Schafer, 42, county tax assessor, was driving nearby, came upon the accident, and pulled off the road. Schafer exited his vehicle and ran to the truck where he assessed Colt’s condition and briefly fought flames with a fire extinguisher. Unable to extinguish the fire and concerned it was likely to spread, Schafer began to pull on the driver’s side door of the cab. With the help of another individual, the door was opened. As flames issued from the truck’s undercarriage, some coming into direct contact with the truck’s full fuel tanks, Schafer and the other individual extended themselves partially into the cab. Grasping Colt under his arms, Schafer and the other individual pulled Colt from the cab shortly before it was engulfed in flames. Colt was hospitalized two weeks with broken ribs, a broken wrist, and broken leg, as well as head injuries; he recovered. He was not burned.
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